Becca AGAIN!! First attempt at portraiture in oil. Not thrilled but its a start. Patience. Patience. Patience….
Decided to make the big step of working on a stretched canvas. This particular brand has a very pronounced weave which was quite different than painting on smooth foamcore. Not sure if I like it. Of course, how would I know with only one attempt on it? So many new experiences! So little time!
I painted from a favorite reference photo of mine taken “up north” on a lovely summer day. Its a little complicated but I just love the effect of the reflections on the water. I recently used this same reference for a pastel painting (below). I didn’t look at the pastel version when I was painting. Its interesting to see how the same inspiration can lead to different results.
I was so pleased to hear that this piece had been accepted into the Great Lakes Pastel Society National Exhibit in Traverse City, Michigan. It was juried by Desmond O’Hagan, a pastel hero of mine. The exhibit is at the Dennos Museum and runs from April 13- May 25, 2014. Stop by if you’re in the area!
This painting of Gettysburg was done in my studio at the same time as the previous post. Two at a time! Now that’s moving right along!
I’m a little happier with this attempt. It feels more unified to me and the edges are softer as they go back into the distance. I’m using a limited palette to force myself to learn how to mix colors. When I’m working in pastel, I have literally hundreds of individual sticks of color to choose from. Nevertheless, I still only use 15-30 hues in one pastel painting because I want a unified feeling. If you use every stick in the box, chaos ensues. The same is true with oils. The fewer tubes of paint you use, the more unified the final effect.
After reading about other artist’s palettes I purchased Royal Talens Cobra and Holbein Duo Aqua water mixable oils in: cadmium yellow lemon, cadmium yellow deep, cadmium red medium, alizarin crimson, yellow ochre, ultramarine blue, viridian, burnt sienna, titanium white, and ivory black. I didn’t use the sienna or black in this piece. I can’t actually every imagine using pure black, because you can mix much richer blacks using alazarin and viridian, but you never know…
I’ve decided to risk looking foolish by sharing my beginner’s attempts with oil paints.
I can tell it will be a long learning process. I have been reading many different articles and books about working in oil. Maybe too many. It seems every artist has a different technique and work process. Some start with a detailed grisaille underpainting and glaze many transparent layers over it, others work Alla Prima (or wet-on-wet), painting loosely and quickly in one setting. Since I am a fast painter (and very impatient) I decided that Alla Prima was the way for me to go. It also seemed to be closer to the way I work in pastel.
I gessoed a few foamcore boards to start. I’ve purchased linen panels and canvases but I wanted to be able to experiment without feeling that I was wasting precious and expensive substrates. I’m working from reference photos right now, but my fervent hope is that I will be able to work en plein air when this grizzly Michigan winter ends.
This scene brings back cherished memories for me. My sisters and I took a wonderful trip to Gettysburg a few years ago. The fields where one of the most gruesome battles of the Civil War occurred are now peaceful and lush…just like they were the day before the 3-day horror began in July of 1863.